Monday, January 25, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> BHS ladies stay atop 5A-Central standings

Leader sports editor

The Beebe girls are on a roll, but they got taken to the wire Tuesday night at Sylvan Hills. The Lady Badgers led by four with two minutes remaining before finally pulling away for a 41-32 victory in Sherwood.

Defense dominated the game on both ends of the floor. Sylvan Hills held Beebe to 34 percent shooting, while Beebe held Sylvan Hills leading scorer Da’Bria Thompson without a field goal the entire game.

Both coaches were pleased with their team’s effort, defensively.

“We held their best player to no baskets,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey. “Libbie Hill gets most of the credit for that. We almost always put her on the other team’s best scorer. She’s 5-foot-9, she’s aggressive and she moves her feet pretty well, so she’s able to create some problems. She did a great job Tuesday.”

Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis said she thought Thompson got frustrated, but liked the opportunities her team created to make baskets and win the game.

“I think we’re pretty close,” said Davis. “Da’Bria couldn’t hit anything and you could just see her getting more and more frustrated. Sometimes when she gets that way she tries to force a little too much.

“But overall I thought we competed well. I really think Beebe is one of the top teams in 5A. We’re sitting here, and Sylvan Hills is really on nobody’s radar. But we’re right there with some of the top teams. I kind of feel like we’re right there if we can just keep improving.”

Beebe took a 13-8 lead in the first quarter, but Sylvan Hills outscored the Lady Badgers by one point in each of the second and third quarters. That resulted in a 29-26 Beebe lead heading into the fourth quarter. That margin remained between four and six points until two minutes left in the game, when Sylvan Hills was forced to begin fouling and Beebe hit its free throws.

 Sylvan Hills kept Beebe guard Taylor McGraw in check as well, that is until the fourth quarter, when the senior Badger got loose and hit a pair of 3-pointers that had a big impact on the game.

“We knew we didn’t have a real comparable player to their big girl,” Davis said of Beebe center Gracie Anders. “But I thought we did a pretty good job of defending her. Good players are going to get their points and she got hers, but we really tried to focus on the McGraw girl. And overall I thought we did a good job of defending her, but late in the game lost her a couple times and she made big shots.”

Anders led Beebe with 16 points while McGraw added 11. Sophomore Alana Canady scored four for Sylvan Hills.

In the boys’ game, Sylvan Hills had a tougher-than-expected time from the 2-12 Badgers, but finally pulled away late for a 46-27 victory. The Badgers controlled the pace the entire first half, and the Bears (11-6, 3-2) held just a 15-13 lead at intermission. Sylvan Hills scored more in the third quarter than in the first and second combined, and took a 33-22 lead into the final frame.

“I wasn’t too happy at halftime,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “I didn’t think we played very hard, and we weren’t ever really in sync until the fourth quarter, maybe early third. Our transition game was the difference once we were able to get something going.

“I don’t know if it was having Monday off, or maybe we got a little lax because Beebe doesn’t have such a good record, but hopefully we learned something, whatever the reason. Hopefully we learned we can get beat by anybody if we don’t show up ready to play.”

Bear senior Cordy Winston led all scorers with 13 points and JaCobé Davis added 10 for the Bears.